ARTIST: Neil Young
TITLE: Time Fades Away
YEAR RELEASED: 1973
CHART ACTION: #22 US, #20 UK
SINGLES: Time Fades Away
OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Don’t Be Denied, Journey Through the Past
LINEUP: Neil Young, Ben Keith, Jack Nitzsche, Tim Drummond, John Barbada. David Crosby and Graham Nash show up a couple of times.
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Live album of new songs is fantastic, but hated by Young because of the memories of the tour.
SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: After Harvest, and the success of Harvest, Neil Young took everyone on a huge veer to the left. First, he released the soundtrack to his movie Journey Through the Past, which isn’t streaming, has never been on CD, and is…well…not worth reviewing anyway or complaining about the fact it’s missing. (In a word, it’d be my first F if I decided to review it). Then he went on tour with a group he called the Stray Gators, full of session whizzes, and played a bunch of new songs, loudly.
The tour was a mess. Everything that went wrong, from band members getting fired, to Young getting a sore throat, to animosity throughout the band, to heavy drug and alcohol use, to indifferent receptions to some great new songs, soured Young on this whole era. The album that resulted, though, shows these songs are among Neil’s best.
The star cut, in my ears, is “Don’t Be Denied”, though all eight songs are fantastic. Young’s ballads are heartfelt and intimate even if he’s playing in arenas. The rockers are raucous, and even if Young’s voice is a bit shaggy it still carries emotion.
After many, many, years in the wilderness due to Young’s bad feelings about the entire tour and experience (and personally, an MP3 I procured via a torrent of a vinyl copy), it’s now out there, warts and all. A must have.
NOTES & MINUTIAE: Crosby and Nash came along at the end of the tour because of Neil’s sore throat.
IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No
GRADE: A: I’m probably upping this a notch high because I’m so glad it’s out there, but it’s excellent despite the raggedness.